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Seeing the Light

, 336 pages
December 2009
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Seeing the Light

Religious Colleges in Twenty-First-Century America

Samuel Schuman examines the place of religious colleges and universities, particularly evangelical Protestant institutions, in contemporary American higher education.

Many faith-based schools are flourishing. They have rigorous academic standards, impressive student recruitment, ambitious philanthropic goals, and well-maintained campuses and facilities. Yet much of the U.S. higher-education community ignores them or accords them little respect. Seeing the Light considers, instead, what can be learned from the viability of these institutions.

The book begins with a history of post secondary U.S. education from the perspective of the religious traditions from which it arose. After focusing briefly on nonevangelical institutions, Schuman next looks at three Roman Catholic institutions—the College of New Rochelle, Villanova University, and Thomas Aquinas College. He then profiles evangelical colleges and universities in detail, discovering the factors contributing to their success. These institutions range from nationally recognized to little known, from rich to poor, with both highly selective and open admission requirements. Interviews with key administrators, faculty, and students reveal the challenges, the successes, and the goals of these institutions.

Schuman concludes that these schools—Baylor University, Anderson University, New Saint Andrews College, Calvin College, North Park University, George Fox University, Westmont College, Oral Roberts University, Northwestern College, and Wheaton College—and others like them offer important and timely lessons for the broader higher-education community.

Samuel Schuman is chancellor emeritus of the University of Minnesota, Morris. He is the author of three literary studies and of Old Main: Small Colleges in Twenty-First Century America, also published by Johns Hopkins.

"Both this book and its extensive bibliographic essay are worth reflection."

"This ambitious book is an important addition to the burgeoning literature on Christian higher education."

"An important book... Paints a rich picture of the exceptional things small colleges can do."

"Brilliantly written and thoroughly convincing. After reading this work, the reader will possess a newfound appreciation for these institutions of higher education and an understanding of their vital role."

"In the tradition of a true liberal arts scholar, [Schuman] invites thoughtful dialogue, challenges academic tradition, and persuades readers to explore alternatives."

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